RECONNAISSANCE

Satellites

Articles

2000 - 2002

Aftergood, Steven. "More Intelligence Imagery to Be Declassified." Secrecy News (from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy), 16 Aug. 2002. [http://www.fas.org]

NIMA "has announced the impending declassification of ... satellite imagery from the KH-7 and KH-9 satellites.... 'The high-resolution KH-7 surveillance imaging satellite, flown from July 1963 to June 1967, monitored key targets such as IBM complexes, radar systems, and hot spots around the globe,'" according to a NIMA fact sheet. "The lower-resolution KH-9 ... system was devoted exclusively to gathering information for mapmaking, and collected imagery from March 1973 to October 1980."

Covault, Craig. "Secret NRO Recons Eye Iraqi Threat." Aviation Week & Space Technology, 16 Sep. 2002. [http://www.aviationnow.com]

"[S]ix secret National Reconnaissance Office high-resolution imaging satellites ... are maintaining an almost hourly watch on specific Iraqi facilities. Three Advanced KH-11s with optical and infrared sensors are teamed with three Lacrosse imaging radar spacecraft with night/all-weather capabilities to search for evidence of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons development, along with missile production.

"But some of these spacecraft are growing old, and a critical new KH-11 replacement satellite that was to have been launched from Vandenberg AFB, Calif., in December 2001 has now been delayed nearly 1.5 years by problems. It is now not planned to launch any earlier than May 2003."

Dao, James. "Rumsfeld Plan Skirts Call for Stationing Arms in Space." New York Times, 9 May 2001. [http://www.nytimes.com]

On 8 May 2001, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld announced a plan to consolidate "a number of military space programs including spy satellite operations under the Air Force. He also said he will create a new position filled by a four-star Air Force general who will serve as the Pentagon's chief advocate for space programs."

Day, Dwayne A. "A LOOK AT . . . Spy Satellites & Hollywood." Washington Post, 2 Jul. 2000, B3. "It's Only a Movie." Washington Post National Weekly Edition, 10 Jul. 2000, 23.

This is a fun article that I hope many people read and learned what satellites can and cannot do -- most notably, they cannot violate the laws of physics.

Diamond, John M. "Re-examining Problems and Prospects in U.S. Imagery Intelligence." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 14, no. 1 (Spring 2001): 1-24.

The focus here is on space-based imagery intelligence. The discussion flows out of five "key points" identified by the author:

"1. The U.S. space imagery community has yet to clearly lay out a path forward that is unanimously supported within the intelligence community and by congressional overseers.

"2. The current space imagery intelligence architecture has yet to demonstrate an ability to contribute decisively in one of the nation's most important national security areas: terrorism and weapons proliferation.

"3. The primary mission of imagery intelligence is trending away from the national strategic mission of the Cold War and toward a real-time battlefield information role....

"4. Despite a major transformation of the major national security challenges facing the United States, the imagery intelligence system in use today is essentially the same as that used during the Cold War.

"5. Among sophisticated adversaries, development of the skills involved in denying and deceiving observation from space appears to be outpacing advancement in satellite intelligence collection."

Fulghum, David A. "USAF Chief Signals Key Funding Priorities." Aviation Week & Space Technology, 3 Jul. 2000, 56-58.

U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mike Ryan says that "high on the [service's] immediate list of priorities is to get Congress to restore funding for the Discoverer II satellite, a radar-carrying constellation of spacecraft that can track moving targets on the ground."

Gertz, Bill. "12-hour Glitch on Spy Satellite Causes Intelligence Gap." Washington Times, 26 Jul. 2001. [http://www.washtimes.com]

The NRO lost contact with a Lacrosse radar-imaging satellite last week, "causing a major gap in intelligence monitoring of world hot spots.... The satellite stopped functioning for some 12 hours, according to U.S. intelligence officials.... The satellite was said to be functioning normally after the glitch was fixed."

Laurenzo, Ron. "NRO Chief Sees Industry Helping Out with Satellite Spy Duties." Defense Week 21, no. 6 (7 Feb. 2000): 3 ff.

Loeb, Vernon. "Panel Report Reveals Satellite Details." Washington Post, 24 Nov. 2000, A41. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

"[B]uried deep in Appendix F" of the Report of the Commission for the Review of the National Reconnaissance Office, "the commission revealed that the NRO has six different satellites in development. The first of the six went into development about 1994 and should be completed sometime next year. The last of the six -- which could be the first of the so-called Future Imagery Architecture (FIA) satellites -- was begun in 1998 and will take six years to finish."

Loeb, Vernon. "Spy Satellite Effort Viewed as Lagging: Defense, Intelligence Officials Seek More Money." Washington Post, 11 Dec. 2002, A31. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

"A secret program for developing the next generation of spy satellites [called Future Imagery Architecture (FIA)] is underfunded and behind schedule and could leave the CIA and Pentagon with gaps in satellite coverage critical to the war on terrorism if the program cannot be restructured, defense and intelligence officials said."

Loeb, Vernon. "U.S. Is Relaxing Rules on Sale of Satellite Photos." Washington Post, 16 Dec. 2000, A3. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has granted a license to Colorado firm Space Imaging Inc. "to sell extremely high-resolution satellite photographs to its customers around the world, effectively relinquishing intelligence agencies' monopoly on precision imagery from space.... Starting in 2004, when Space Imaging plans to launch its next-generation imaging satellite, everyone ... may have access to 'half-meter resolution' images of cities, airports and military bases around the globe, down to what type of radar is mounted on what model tank."

Mayo, Reid D. "Conceiving the World's First Signals Intelligence Satellite." In Beyond Expectations -- Building an American National Reconnaissance Capability: Recollections of the Pioneers and Founders of National Reconnaissance, ed. Robert A. McDonald, 129-138. Bethesda, MD: American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, 2002.

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